Buying a Laptop: A Cautionary Tale

A friend of mine just bought a new laptop. Unfortunately, she got some advice from someone who just gave her a list of requirements for what she “wanted” without actually explaining what those items were. I’m also not sure if that person even asked what the computer was being used for, which is ultimately the most important consideration to make.

Her new laptop comes with the newest operating system, Windows Vista. However, in the audio editing field, the professional-grade programs are not fully compatible with this new operating system (or OS). This means that the brand new machine she bought can’t do what she bought it to do. At this point the store left her with two options. One, she can return to where she bought it and get charged a 15% restocking fee. Two, she can buy a new copy of Windows XP at retail and install that.

Obviously, neither of these are a good result for her buying experience. The sad part of the whole situation is the likelihood that she’ll been even more frustrated with technology and come away from the whole experience jaded against what should be a tool to help her.

So what’s the moral of this tale of woe?

1. When you get help from somebody else, which is a great idea, make sure you understand what they say you need from a computer.

2. Think about what you need your computer to do and make sure that it is going to do what you need it to do.

3. Be careful before buying a new operating system. Although, Windows Vista is more than a year old now, there is still not a lot of software compatibility, which means you can’t do everything you think you’d be able to do on this software.

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