Advice for a complete computer novice

  economist1 23:54 20 Jan 2017
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I only registered with PC Adviser 5 minutes ago. I'd much appreciate advice on 'how to get started' on learning as much as possible about the basics of using a computer - for private use, to keep informed, and to keep up with the modern world, generally. For instance, I'd prefer a book to read/online courses, and not a formal classroom setting.

I have an 'old' Sony Vaio, vpceb2c5e - hardly used - with Windows 7, Home Premium. I'm hoping that I will not need to spend a lot updating my laptop which, I believe is about 10 years old. I've never used a mobile phone ('even') but I'd like to buy a 'smartphone'which is very good technically, yet cheap..... I did try updating to Windows 10, but I was too inexperienced to do that simple job. And a bright friend said that he prefers Windows 7. I've no idea how, say, to match my laptop with a smartphone. Perhaps a new (not second-hand) smartphone needs something newer than Windows 7? I'd also like a printer/scanner/photocopier ('all in one'). My main concerns are to learn as much as possible, the best way possible, and not to spend more than £1,500. And to have fun.

I'm sorry if I've gone on for too long. Any advice will be gratefully received.

I'm not sure how to sign off, so I'll just wish you all my Best Regards,

From 'Curmudgeon'.

  wee eddie 01:03 21 Jan 2017

Step 1. Go down to your local Library and take out "PC's for Dummies", that'll get you started

  wee eddie 02:31 21 Jan 2017

There will be a selection of other computer self help books on the shelves but, the "for Dummies" series is by far the best

  Forum Editor 12:29 21 Jan 2017

Firstly, welcome to our forums. We have spent the past 15 years offering help and advice to people who need it, and I'm sure we can do the same for you.

"I'm hoping that I will not need to spend a lot updating my laptop which, I believe is about 10 years old."

It is not really going to be cost effective to start trying to update a machine that is as old as that. You will be far better advised to buy a new laptop. For general use, you can buy an excellent machine for around £600.

A decent all-in-one printer/scanner/copier for home use will set you back around £130, which leaves you money to spare from your budget.

You'll need to sign up to a monthly contract with one of the mobile network providers if you are likely to use your smartphone to any extent, but if your intended use is light, you could buy a phone and use it on a pay-as-you-go basis, which involves topping up your available network minutes whenever they run low.

There are too many contract options and phones to give you any definitive advice as this stage, but as a rough guide you can expect to spend about £24 a month for a 200 minute contract with a decent Android smartphone. The Android operating system is - in my opinion - by far the best smartphone option, and most of the phones in use today (apart from iPhones) have it.

As for learning, it's not perhaps as difficult as you may think. Modern computer and smartphone operating systems are pretty intuitive, and most people pick up the basics very quickly. There are books, as has been pointed out, and we're always here to help you with specifics. We don't mind how many questions you ask.

On an admin note - technical questions about how to use Windows 10 (which will be on any new laptop) are best asked in our Windows Help forum. Questions about smartphones go in the Digital Home and Smartphones Help forum.

Don't worry if you post in the wrong forum area - I'll move new threads to the appropriate area as I spot them, and you'll be notified when that happens.

  economist1 13:22 21 Jan 2017

Many thanks. Exactly the kind of advice/moral support I was looking for. Regards, economist1

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