Dear Laptop Fairy, I Need a New Computer

My laptop has been acting funky for the past few weeks. Freezing, crashing... you know, dying the slow, painful death that most laptops die.

While this process is happening, we humans are usually in denial. It's not like we think the poor battered machine's going to live forever. We know it's not. It's just that we're secretly hoping that the Laptop Fairy wll wave her magic wand and grant our laptop some extra life. I'd decided the Laptop Fairy should grant my laptop at least another year to hold hands and snuggle passionately with me.

Alas, the moment of truth came at 5:20 a.m. this morning. I tried to give my laptop a good morning kiss and it returned my ardent embrace with an obnoxious error message. "No hard disk can be located." I re-booted in the hopes that it was just being cranky and bad tempered. The same error message came up every time.

I won't bore you with the details of the subsequent 100% Certified Los Angelista Nervous Breakdown. Let's just say that I finally remembered that I back up everything once a week to an external hard drive, so by the time I walked out the door at 7:50, I probably looked totally composed.

By 10 a.m. I'd reached the acceptance stage of grief. It was time to be practical and decide between replacing my laptop or attempting to get the hard drive repaired. I am still unsure what to do because I don't like spending money. Especially money I wasn't planning to spend. I like to research major purchases for a few weeks because the worst decisions are made when you're desperate and impulse shopping. (Yes, car dealerships hate me.)

Several folks have suggested that my next computer should be a Mac. I like Mac. My dad was the first big Mac fan I ever met - he even reads Mac magazines in the bathroom. But I just can't get down with their exhorbitant prices, especially when I have not planned and saved for those exhorbitant prices. I am not ballin' outta control so I don't have $2,000 to just plunk down on a laptop.

My alternative? Getting a PC. But I don't want to be calling up a tech team up on the regular and then, in a couple of years getting the hard disk failure message six months after the warranty expires. Or is there a magical PC laptop that doesn't do this?

What I'd really like is for the Laptop Fairy to descend on my palatial, two bedroom, one bathroom Los Angeles estate with the perfect laptop in her hands. Then she'll hand my new laptop over to me. For free.

In the meantime, I'll keep on using my trusty home desktop. It's so old it still uses Windows XP.

What brand is it, you ask? Well, it was built by a friend of mine who likes to tinker with computers. I guess it's good to know at least one person out there knows how to build something so it lasts and lasts.


Mandy said…

What about second-hand Mac? Try eBay?

nick said…
Sorry, I don't actually possess a laptop so I don't have any brilliant advice. And my PC has Windows XP too! Very wise to do plenty of research before you splash out on something so crucial.
My mac was under 1300 brand new from the Apple Store. Are you looking at the MacPro? Do you need that much power?

I will never go back to PC for one big reason...viruses.

I second Mandy. You might be able to find a second hand Mac in great condition (have your computer genius friend check it out).
Val said…
Sorry about your pc woes, Liz. A pre-owned (sounds better than used, lol) Mac might be a good idea as suggested above.

I'm actually saving for a new computer now. I've decided on a Mac mainly because, as NYC/ CR notes, they aren't very susceptible to viruses.

Also have you considered a netbook? I bought one on Amazon last year for under $300. I don't use it everyday but its great for throwing in my backpack. I have an Asus Eee PC.
Anonymous said…
Just remember, you may have to buy all new software if you convert to Mac (depending on what you use). And when I bought my new laptop (refurbished Toshiba) a couple of years back, I specifically looked for something with XP to avoid the Vista mess. Hey, at least it works.
Shanda said…
I want to get a Mac laptop, too. I almost did, but I wanted a larger screen.
I'm not singing their praises, but I bought my laptop (Asus G50) at Best Buy last year. I bought a protection plan, too. It was the best thing I could have done! I love the Asus, but it's had to be replaced twice since I originally bought it. If I didn't have the plan, I would have been out of luck. It's nice to stand in the Geek Squad line (and I don't have a lot of faith in them), see other people plunk down serious duckets to get their machines looked at or repaired, and know that I'm covered.
It was well worth the money.

Florinda said…
Weird. My laptop is having almost the very same problem. It's going into the shop tonight - bracing myself for the bad news. (Fortunately, I also back up to an external drive regularly, and a lot of what I do is "in the cloud," living in Google-server-land.)

But my laptop IS a Mac. They're not perfect. But it's only two years old and has been very good to me till now, so I'll most likely get it fixed and keep going.

Good luck!
Lisa Blah Blah said…
If you are very disciplined, you could try buying a laptop on credit. I bought a MacBook through the Apple Store last fall and got their "12 months same as cash" credit offer. I hardly ever use credit but my laptop had bit the dust and wasn't coming back, and I didn't have the cash on hand due to paying off some medical bills. (Now THAT is a whole nother story...) This is my first Mac and I really have to say I do love it, way more than my PC. Even if you go the PC route, you can buy a laptop at Best Buy with a similar credit deal. 0% interest for 12 months. Not for everyone, but I thought I'd put it out there as an option. Of course you do have to be disciplined not to use the card for other things and hike up your balance. ;-)
Lisa Blah Blah said…
Oh, and the Apple store does sell pre-owned, refurbished Macs too. Not that I'm trying to sway you or anything...
Eunice said…
I know someone who can look at your laptop and see if it can be revived. If you know already that it can't and don't want to go the mac route, one of my best friends works in the Dell laptop marketing division so she will know the best deal out there.
Tafari said…
I say fuck it & make a pact with the devil to make a Mac come into your life.
Dad said…
Dear Liz,

Macs are no longer so expensive. A brand new MacBook is not $3,500, not $2,279, but only $999 list price, with free shipping from Apple. At our campus computer store it goes for only $899.

The death of your old machine is a sign to you that it is time to move on up to the real deal!

Love, Dad

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