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Below are several other areas to think about when you are purchasing a new computer, printer or broadband connection:-





When looking for a new printer, the main choice is inkjet or laser - If you want a reasonably cheap to run device that prints in colour then the choice is inkjet, if you need high quality black prints for say business use then a laser is a better choice. You can of course also buy a colour laser printer but running costs are very high so this would not be suitable for general home use


The most important thing to check before buying any printer is the cost of the replacement ink cartridges or toner as prices vary widely between different makes and models


You can also have an all-in-one device that includes printer, scanner and copier


My recommended makes/models can be found here


Operating System






All new computers will come with Windows 11 (or initially Windows 10 with a free upgrade to Windows 11) - this is the latest version of Windows which has a completely redesigned user interface and features to make it work seamlessly across all different types of device i.e. desktop, laptop, tablet and phones


My Windows 11 reference guides will show you all the changes and how to use the new features


Avoid any older models that come with Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 (all of which are obsolete now) and also Windows 8 which is outdated now and being replaced with Windows 10 and 11


Microsoft Office







If you use Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook etc) on your old computer then you firstly need to check that the version you have will be compatible with your new computer, and also that you have the installation CD and product code (for older versions) or know the login details (for newer versions):-


Retired / Unsupported versions:-


Microsoft Office 2003 will work with Windows XP, Vista and 7

Microsoft Office 2007/2010 will work with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8/8.1

Microsoft Office 2013 will work with Windows 7, 8/8.1 and 10 - N.B. will still receive security updates only until 11/04/23

Microsoft Office 2016 will work with Windows 7, 8/8.1, 10 and 11 - N.B. will still receive security updates only until 14/10/25


Current versions:-


Microsoft Office 2019 will work with Windows 10 and 11

Microsoft Office 2021 will work with Windows 10 and 11


If you need a new version then you can choose from the options below:-


One off payment

Microsoft Office 2021 Home and Student (includes Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint)


Microsoft Office 2021 Home and Business (includes Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Outlook)


Annual subscription


Microsoft 365 Personal (includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, 1Tb OneDrive cloud storage, 60 Skype minutes/month and free upgrades to latest versions of Office) - this version can be installed on 1 computer


Microsoft 365 Family (previously called Office 365 Home) (includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access, 1Tb OneDrive cloud storage, 60 Skype minutes/month and free upgrades to latest versions of Office) - this version can be installed on 6 computers


This is the best solution if you need access to all the Office programs e.g. Publisher, Access, Outlook, it is also the best value if you need to install on multiple computers


N.B. Please bear in mind that this is a subscription service so you have to keep paying for it every year if not you will not be able to continue using it when it expires


Free alternatives


If you only have very basic requirements such as just typing the odd letter etc then another option is a free alternative such as LibreOffice (link can be found here)


Finally if you have a laptop or tablet with a screen size less than 10.1" then you can download and use Word, Excel and PowerPoint Mobile for free from the Windows 10/11 Store - these are cut down versions especially designed for smaller devices and provide enough functionality for viewing and basic editing of Microsoft Office documents. For devices with larger screens you will need a Microsoft Office 365 subscription to be able to use these apps


Where to Buy


Best prices are usually available via Amazon - click here to see suggested items in Amazon store.


You can also buy from John Lewis or Currys or directly from Microsoft (link below)



Virus/Firewall Protection




One of the most important programs you need on your new computer is anti-virus and firewall software - to protect you from viruses, malware, hackers, online fraud and identity theft


There are lots of different products available but in my experience and from testing done (see here for report) the best choice is the award winning AVG Internet Security


Some stores such as Currys will try to sell you Norton when buying a new computer, often by telling you misleading information about it being the only one that banks support (this is not true), or by saying it is the best protection available - as my test report above shows and even a quick search on google, most people would not agree with this claim! - from many years in the business I hardly have any problems with viruses on machines protected by AVG, but I have spent a lot of time removing them from computers supposedly protected by Norton and McAfee to name just a couple


I also recommend avoiding any of the free alternatives if you intend to use your computer for shopping online or internet banking - most of these products do not provide enough protection for these activities


See the Virus Protection section for more information on my recommended solution


Data Transfer



Decide what data (documents, music, photos, emails etc) needs to be transferred and make a note to make transfer easier when your new PC is being set-up for you


Emails and email addresses cannot always be transferred depending on what email program you are using - see email section below for more details


You should already be doing regular backups of your data, if not details on how to do this can be found in my data backup guide


Internet Access




When buying compare price, monthly allowance and any extras you get such as inclusive phone calls, or Digital TV and as with most purchases the cheapest is not always the most reliable!


You will also need to make sure your PC is located near to a phone point as broadband does not work well (if at all) using extension cables - if you have a laptop PC then you have the option of wireless so you can use it anywhere (within reason) in the house so the location of the phone point would not be such an issue


See the Broadband section for recommendations and advice on changing provider


Wireless Connection




All laptops/netbooks/tablets come with wireless network connections - so as long as you have a wireless router you will be able to enter the wireless password (key) for that router and connect without needing a cable


Desktop computers do not normally come with a wireless adapter as they are usually situated near to the internet router so that they can be connected via a network cable


If your router is in one room and you intend to have a desktop computer located somewhere else, then make sure you choose a desktop model that comes with a wireless adapter or purchase a suitable USB wireless adapter to use with the new desktop computer


Alternatively you could get a phone company to install a phone point near to where the computer will be situated, so that it can be connected directly to the router using a network cable.  This would be the preferred and most reliable solution as wired connections are usually faster and less problematic than wireless because they don't suffer from interference or signal strength issues when located too far away from the router


Monitor / Screen



If you are replacing your desktop computer but keeping an existing screen, then you need to make sure that the new computer has the same connection as your existing screen (or at least comes with an adapter so you can still use it)


Some desktop computers connect using DisplayPort, some use HDMI (like you use with your TV), some use a digital DVI connector (white), whereas others still use the original VGA connector (blue)


So check the back of your existing monitor to see which cable/connection it uses to make sure it will work with your new computer


See this page for a picture of the different connections






If you are currently using Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 then it is likely you are using an email client (program) called Outlook Express, Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail to read and send emails - all of these programs are obsolete and no longer exist in Windows 10/11 so you will need to consider this when moving to a new computer
You can either use Webmail on the new PC by visiting your internet providers website and clicking on email, or you can use a free email program such as the Windows 10/11 Mail app or eM Client, or if you are using your PC for business you could purchase Microsoft Outlook (part of Microsoft Office)
It is not always possible (especially with Webmail or if you are changing email provider) to transfer existing emails and contacts so you should print any emails you wish to keep and make a note of email addresses etc so these can be manually entered into your new email program in the event they cannot be transferred


Make sure you know your email account password as this will be needed when setting up / testing the email on your new computer - if you don't know it then contact your internet/email provider prior to my visit


Compatibility of existing peripherals and software



When buying a new PC it is always advisable to check that any existing peripherals you have (i.e. printer, scanner, webcam etc), as well as any existing software you wish to install on your new PC is compatible, especially if you are currently running an older version of Windows


Please email me hardware make/model or software title/version if you are unsure and I will check for you - or you can check via this website ( or by looking on the manufacturers website


Also make sure you have the installation media (CD/DVD) for any compatible software you wish to install on the new PC, i.e. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel etc) - and also any serial numbers/product keys if needed to install the software


Surge Protection





When you put together a computer system, one piece of  equipment you should buy is a surge protector. Most designs serve one immediately obvious function -- they let you plug multiple components into one power outlet. With all of the different components that make up a computer system, this is definitely a useful device


But the other function of a surge protector power strip -- protecting the electronics in your computer from surges in power -- is far more important


If you computer and its peripherals are plugged in during a storm or power surge this could cause expensive damage, but if you are protected with a surge protector this will absorb any surges and protect your equipment from damage


Most good surge protectors come with a warranty to insure protected equipment against any damage


I would recommend Masterplug or Belkin


© 2004 - 2023 PC Assist @ Home


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