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Replacing the family pc - your advice please

(19 Posts)
friendly Sat 17-Sep-11 23:14:42

We are finally getting round to replacing our very old, slow pc. Now that the nod has been given to get researching I don't really know what I am looking for. All in one's seem to be the latest thing and the dc's are really keen on us getting an imac. db-in-law is a mac fan and put me in touch with some guys who refurbish macs. They look lovely but how easy would it be to transfer dh's word documents etc? They are also ££ although the refurbs are about half the price. Do we want a refurb when we could get a new pc for the same price? Your advice/ input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

We replaced our PC with a Mac last Christmas and definitely not sure if I would do the same with hindsight, esp. bearing in mind the cost.


Very easy interface with all our other Apple gadgets, Ipad, Iphone etc
Virtually silent
Looks nice
Seems pretty reliable, doesn't lock up very often


Word for Mac is dreadful, doesn't seem to have half the functionality of Word for Windows

Some websites don't cope with the browser very well (have had to do an M&S order on the Ipad tonight because the website kept hanging up on the Mac), although this is fairly infrequent

I just can't get used to it. You don't realise how embedded in your ways you are with a PC, Windows, IE etc. I feel like I'm groping around in the dark still with Finder, which is the file manager function, it seems very unsophisticated. I keep finding little things it can't do which a Windows computer can, or it can but it takes you ages to find out how.

It tries to force you to do everything via Libraries which I hate (I know Windows is heading this way too).

Iphoto - I hate this and it is the default photo organiser.

The USB ports are round the back and not very easy to plug things in and out, you either have to go round the back or move it or grope about. We have ended up buying a USB hub.

Now maybe it's just me and I need to learn, but I am fairly computer literate and this just feels like a foreign language compared to getting used to a new release of Windows. I feel so much more at home with my work laptop and Microsoft.

schilke Sun 18-Sep-11 10:22:17

We replaced our pc with an iMac at the beginning if the year. Best decision we ever made.
Dh has his own laptop with his work on so didn't have to worry about transferring documents etc...

We found the move easy. Switches on in an instant, great screen, kids can switch it on easily, fab for home videos and photos. I haven't had any problems with websites - used m&s myself and was fine smile

I love it!

niceguy2 Sun 18-Sep-11 10:29:05

I have both PC's & an iMac. I must say that I love the iMac for its simplicity and 'it just works' factor.

It did take me a while to get used to the mac interface having been a windows man for nearly twenty years. The iMac is now my main PC.

Word for Mac looks practically just like Word for Windows to me. There are cosmetic differences but since i barely use most of the features anyway, it makes no difference to me. I can still write a report & a letter in it just as well as in Windows.

Safari I don't like so I just downloaded Firefox. Sorted.

Finder, I'll give you is a bit crap. It does do the basics....very basics. But by & large most users don't spend much of their time moving files around.

iPhoto is awesome! Simply awesome. I can't understand how you wouldn't like it. It has a huge wow factor.

USB's round the back means it looks tidy. There's no ugly ports on the front. I love how you have one cable to plug in, the power cable. Everything else is wireless.

I love how I don't have to worry about viruses, how it just goes to sleep and wakes up without crashing and the screen...omg the quality of the screen makes my dell monitor look crap. And my Dell monitor wasn't cheap!

Friendly, I'd say this. If you need a computer to surf the web, standard office stuff like reports etc. View photos and listen to music then an iMac would suit your needs. If you have special applications your DH must use for work like Visio or CAD stuff then an iMac is not a good idea.

friendly Sun 18-Sep-11 10:37:17

Thank you all for replying. I'm going to digest all your info and maybe wander up to PC world later. If we do decide on a mac would it make sense to buy it at the apple store? We have one here in Brighton. What are your thoughts on a refurbished computer? The company b-in-l told me about list on ebay and are based in Poole I think. I like the simplicity of the mac and the fact we wouldn't have to worry about viruses. We seem to have been blighted by them recently. Not sure why. Thank you all again.

bubbles4 Sun 18-Sep-11 10:39:47

niceguy2,I dont want to burst your bubble but other Techie forums are reporting quite a few viruses emerging on Macs.

niceguy2 Sun 18-Sep-11 16:33:14

Yes i know there are now viruses emerging for the mac. And one day I may well have to protect my mac like I do my PC. But for now thankfully incidents are still extremely low, thanks to the much superior security.

Friendly, I would suggest buying it from the Apple store if you have one local. You can have a good play, pick their brains, get them to show you the really cool features first. Plus (ask them) but I think Apple will let you return it too if you later change your mind. Taking stuff back in PCWorld is not recommended unless you have the patience of a saint!

A refurb one is a good idea only if you are saving a fair amount of money.

Yes, the security is one big plus I forgot about. It also boots up quickly. Will give it those!

I will maintain that Mac version of Word is fairly dreadful though, if you do anything other than the most basic stuff.

I hate Iphoto because I have had for years all my photos sorted out in very useful folders by year and month which works absolutely fine for me. Iphoto seems to just dump them all into one big library. Now I realise that I am going to have to get my brain away from the conventional folder structures one of these days but I am not ready to just dump years of painstakingly organised photos into one huge amorphous database where I can't find anything just yet.

The cables thing - we are always plugging and unplugging devices (mainly Ipods) onto ours, so we have to have a USB hub which makes things untidy anyway, no real gain for us.

I just don't feel I understand it like I do a PC.

basildonbond Sun 18-Sep-11 19:33:03

whoknows ... iphoto doesn't just dump photos in one great big blob ... if you click on 'events' they're sorted by when they're taken - you can then separate or merge files if you want to (e.g. merge several events if they're all from the same holiday) - have always hated word so am more than happy with pages which does all I need it to. Word documents transfer easily.

friendly - we changed two years ago from a not particularly old but very sloooow pc and we have never looked back ... dh recently replaced his laptop with a macbook he's been so impressed

We switched to mac 3 years ago when the pc died.. and I have never regretted it! In fact we are now a imac and two macbooks household! As each laptop dies (I have 4 teens using them for study) we will only replace with macs, whether new or second hand!

They just work. No antivirus needed yet, clogging it up, don't spend my life maintaining them, and of course the ipod/iphone etc work seamlessly and have more function than when hooked to windows (small but nice things like using your songs as ringtones etc)

I'm not over keen on Microsoft Office (generally!) ..but I generally only use word and powerpoint and they are fine.. I also tend to use google chrome as my browser as I prefer it.

But it works brilliantly..not one crash in 3 years for my imac, it looks beautiful, I like iphoto (and no they aren't all lumped.. I make a new event with each camera download) and I LOVE the way I can plug in a new printer and such like and it just FINDS it and faffing about with 'plug and pray' installations.

Can you tell I'm a fan?!?!! grin

Defo go to an Apple store.. they can also book you in for tuition and their customer service is fantastic... UNLIKE pc world!

My old photos are all lumped. Honest! As for the new ones, they do go into separate events, but that isn't how I want them, maybe I need to try and change the settings, but there again, the whole things seems less tweakable and customizable than Windows to me, it kind of assumes you will be so happy with it you won't want to change anything I guess.

Anyway, all your positive stories give me hope that one day I will get to love it!

niceguy2 Sun 18-Sep-11 22:53:23

Whoknows. It's because you've organised your albums in the way you want to. Which means that chances are, your folders & timestamps are all over the place. I had the same issue too when I first tried to import into iPhoto.

It is worth spending the time & effort in my opinion to organise your albums into events. What you can also do which I did first, was to just import my favourite albums so I could show family & friends without the rest of the 50GB clogging up space.

Metal Sun 18-Sep-11 23:08:57


I'm not a Mac User (I'd go for Linux if I wanted to stop using Windows) but if you really can't stand the Mac Word/Office you could give a try.

BadgersPaws Mon 19-Sep-11 10:14:47

"other Techie forums are reporting quite a few viruses emerging on Macs."

No, there aren't any true viruses for Macs yet, not in the same way that there are for PCs.

There are most definitely Trojans and Malware for Macs, but they require the user to be tricked somehow into installing them. And software you install can quite legitimately do anything that you can do. So you do need to think about what you're installing, but that goes for anything.

There's certainly no email or web page that you can go to that will give you something that will just infect your Mac without requiring any permission or consent from you the user. And that's what life is like on Windows.

So things are much better on a Mac, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's always going to be better and that Mac's are immune. But they are more secure, and right now there is nothing to worry about, but do keep your ears open.

BadgersPaws Mon 19-Sep-11 10:18:04

"As for the new ones, they do go into separate events, but that isn't how I want them, maybe I need to try and change the settings"

No that's how it works, which is a change to how it used to work when they just went into your library. The only other thing I could think that you might want it to do is to automatically make a new album from the last import, but that's just a few clicks away away if you want it...

On all versions of iPhone there should be a "last roll" (or "last import"?) thing you can click on to view everything that you've just imported. You can then make a new album(s) and group those photos however you wish.

Thanks for all your suggestions re Iphoto and Word, I will have a look at the Iphoto in a bit more detail. Word I will just live with as although it is annoying, I don't use it that much at home, just wanted to flag to anyone who might be planning to that I have found it problematic. Iphoto I think I am going to have to bite the bullet with.

BadgersPaws Mon 19-Sep-11 11:12:03

" Iphoto I think I am going to have to bite the bullet with."

Well you don't have to, there are alternatives out there, and you can just manage your photos through Finder as I used to do back when I used Windows for my personal stuff.

However I've really grown to like iPhoto and it's the way that I prefer to manage things now. And that's even more true since Events were introduced, I used to make albums for every event that I took photos for, and Events just automates what I was doing anyway, so I love it smile

I am mainly using Finder still, but as I said, the functionality is pretty poor. If I could set it up to make an event for each month I would be happy, but I don't want each downloaded set going into one event, which seems to be the default. By bite the bullet I just meant I need to sit down and play with it for a few hours and see what I can do.

niceguy2 Mon 19-Sep-11 12:03:57

You can also use Picasa to manage your photos if you like.

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