Tech Magazine

Buyer Beware: What to Look Out For With Windows

Posted on the 13 October 2011 by Nerdywerds @NerdyWerds

Are you prepared to put in the work to own a Windows?


  • You Get What You Pay For
  • Fragmentation
  • Maintenance
  • Security
  • Bloatware
  • Wrap up

If you read the articles in the last week, you'll know I covered Apple a good bit. We looked at the iPhone 4S, and reasons why you should and shouldn't buy a Mac. I wouldn't say I was harsh or unfair to Apple, but I know some of the hardcore fans are wondering why Apple got so much attention and Microsoft got none. Well, you're in luck, just like last week, we'll be taking a look at the best reasons for and against owning a Windows PC. Just like with the Apple arguments, we don't deal in opinions here; no one pays me to think, just write. Our task for today is simple; why you may want to be weary of purchasing a Windows PC. And blue screen of death will not appear anywhere in these pages.

You Get What You Pay For

Where an Apple product contains top of the line hardware and a price tag that reflects that, a Windows PC can be the exact opposite. A quick search on Best Buy's site shows you can get a Windows laptop for the low price of $280 or so. And this is very appealing to anyone on a budget, trust me, I understand. "What does that meager sum get me?", you might ask. An Intel Celeron processor, good technology 5 years ago. The first computer I bought came with an option of Intel Celeron or Pentium 4 processor, and I bought it in 2004. It has a clock speed of 1.5Ghz, which, if you read the iPhone alternatives article, you'll know is the speed of one of the Samsung Galaxy II's dual cores. So this $300 laptop, post taxes, runs with about half the efficiency and speed of a new phone.

You'll also get 2GB of RAM; about half the amount I'd like to see in a system. A moderate resolution screen is also thrown into the mix. You'll get 320GB of storage too. None of these are horrible to the point of not being usable; but considering what else is out there, like a well equipped Mac , this probably won't be a first choice for many. And there in lies the double edged sword of Windows; they have budget friendly systems, but those system have budget friendly components. You get what you pay for, while a selling point for Mac, is kind of a caveat emptor for Windows buyers.


In our article on speeding up a slow computer we talked about fragmentation of your hard drive. In that case, fragmentation is when, over time, data storage gets spread out over the entire hard disk, instead of in consecutive addresses. This leads to increased effort and time to read from the disk. Device fragmentation, a problem that is plaguing Android right now, is when software developers have to try a cast a wide net when writing programs. I worked as a software developer in a shop where we wrote programs for one type of system. We only had to care about one set of specs for our code. Someone wanting to code for Windows has hundreds of machine types they need to appease. This is the cause of some of the crashing issues people encounter on a Windows PC. Where Mac developers know they'll have an abundance of resources on the machine at any given time, Windows programmers either have to hope there will be enough or code to the lowest common denominator.

If you were ever in a class where the teacher had to go at a pace that was too slow for you, you'll know why this is no good. The same Windows programs written for that single core processor in the PC from above are also meant to run on my quad-core processor. So even though I have well over 4x the processing power, I can't utilize it because of the lower end PC's. So if you decide you're going to just go with a higher end PC to rival a Mac's hardware, be prepared to not have that hardware taken advantage of very often. This is probably one of the more frustrating parts of owning a Windows; go cheap and risk crashes and instability, go high end and have resources to spare.


We're going to refer back to that article on speeding up a slow computer. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. Do you recall any mentions of how to speed up a Mac? If you do, you didn't read the same article I wrote. While diligence should be a trait of all computer owners, Mac's require a good deal less. This is where the tag line "they just work" comes from. You don't have to do your monthly maintenance cycle like on a Windows PC. As a Windows owner, you'll need to routinely run and update your anti-virus software; as well as a host of cleanup and maintenance steps. You'll need to free up system resources, deleting cache and temp files, and micromanage programs.

This may not necessarily be a huge downside, but most people I know don't enjoy maintaining their computers like I do. Most would just like their computers to be ready when they are, no work required. If this is you, you might want to take another look at a Mac. Buying Windows means making the commitment to take care of and maintain your system.


As if getting a virus weren't bad enough, spreading it could be worse. If you don't catch it and quarantine it immediately, you risk infecting your friends and family as well. While there aren't really any self perpetuating Mac viruses, a Windows pandemic can start from one single system. So not only is security a concern, but responsibility online is kind of required as well. No one is going to forgive you if you send them the same virus too many times. And unless you stay on facebook and don't click anything, you're going to be swarmed by chances to get viruses.


I wanted to briefly touch on bloatware. Computer makers will sell space on there new machines for companies to put software trails and such. This is why a new computer will have Wild Tangent games all over the place, and the used to have AOL free trials and such. But like the video says, these are useless software and can be a pain to get rid of. I'd elaborate more on this point, but I think we get it. Bloatware equals unwanted software forced upon you by the manufacturer.

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