Upgrading Office Computers

Business owners suggest ways to improve the speed and power of your office computers, without switching platforms. April 19, 2015

I have to upgrade my computers in the office. Should I stay with a PC or change to an Apple computer? I am sick of getting viruses and having the computer run slow. I have been told that the Apple computers do not get viruses or run slowly. Is all the common software available for both platforms? Any pros or cons from both sides would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From Contributor E:
I'm not sure what you mean by saying you are sick of getting viruses? If you have a decent anti-virus software that's up to date, you shouldn't have any issues. If your computer is slowing down, it's highly probable there are other fixable internal issues unrelated to viruses. Whatever you do, don't do any of the "online virus scans" - most of them are a scam of some sort. Delete all unnecessary software from your computer. This can be anything that you almost never use. Remove all bloatware that may have come with the machine. Turn off the startup programs that aren't necessary. Run a defrag and run a disk cleanup. Strip your computer down to the bare bones. I can almost guarantee it will run much faster.

From contributor N:
Funny you should mention this, that's my next big purchase. I'm looking at the 27" iMac. Like you I'm sick of my computer running slower and slower every day. You can buy autoCAD for Apple, as far as anything else you're using, you can still run windows based software on it, in a separate window. I know a lot of people out there have a lot of issues with Apple, but if you're like me you don't want to have to deal with your computer, just use it. Plus if you use an iphone like I do, they stay in sync very well between appointments, emails, files, etc.

From Contributor J:
Contributor E is right. Without regular maintenance, computers slow down - all computers. Buying a Mac will help (I love Macs) but you'll need to know how to maintain it as well. If you feel like you can't maintain you PC you might feel even more lost with a Mac.

Without knowing your system or your skills with computers, this is a quick list of things you may want to learn how to do for yourself: disc cleanup, defragmenting, cleaning up internet files, remove unwanted programs, disable animations, create a clean boot account, upgrade RAM, upgrade video card, clean dust from fans and heat sinks regularly.

One of the reasons PC's are so cheap is because software companies pay to have their software shipped with your computer and it only get worse as time goes on. The first thing I do when buying a new computer is have my local PC shop wipe it clean from all freeware and trial software and install a fresh clean copy of Windows ($99). A consumer grade PC will run like a high performance workstation when it's not loaded down with background apps. Also, I have all of my systems set up with two accounts. One for everyday use (all features turned on) and the other is for heavy lifting (large CAD files, 3D rendering, etc.). This account boots clean without internet, antivirus, email, etc, - work only! When I have a lot of heavy PC work, I use my laptop for checking email and using the internet.

From contributor D:
Contributor J, what an awesome reply. I'm faced with upgrading my machines. I wouldn't consider Apple because of Cabware, and other programs won't run on Apple. I have two new computers sitting here ready to make the switch, but I found out I need to upgrade some software at the same time so they will run on Windows 8. This will be big, and I assume it will take quite a bit of time to get things running well. I have a really good tech to help with the upgrade, and I pay really well so I get quick attention when I need it.

From contributor C:
I agree to getting the extraneous items taken off the PC and stripping it down to work related only. Another thing to consider, and seriously, is an SSD to replace the hard drive and make sure to turn off the defrag. Check about SSD performance and you will be shocked. Itís perhaps one of the fastest upgrades. We have just replaced two and they are night and day.

From Contributor U:
Excellent suggestions above. I have recently switched to a machine with an SSD and it is a marked improvement. I run Parallels Desktop on my MacBook Pro to run Windows 7 and the few Windows apps I need. Research your apps before you decide between Windows and Apple OS. Definitely stay away from any Quickbooks or Quicken apps on an Apple OS. Any computer, tablet, or phone needs maintenance for peak operation. It needs to be a regular habit.

From Contributor H:
Upgrading to an SSD hard drive is about equal to jumping two or three levels forward in CPU development. I know this from firsthand experience. As an example, Windows XP boot times will drop from three plus minutes down to under 30 seconds. This translates into that sort of speed improvement though out all your programs.

If you aren't going to clone the old HDD to the new SSD drive the fresh Windows install will also have a large impact. To the original poster I would suggest going this route if: 1. Your system is recent enough to have the SATA interface for the drives and 2. You are personally up to the task of making the changes.

Earlier today I searched out an I5 Dell Optiplex (not at Dell) with Windows 7 32-bit for under $550 for a friend. It's hard to justify putting too much time and money into an older PC when new medium end units are relatively inexpensive. I would also suggest staying with a 32-bit system with either Windows 7 or Windows 8. While this limits you to 4 gig of RAM there is a much larger likelihood that your old programs will run on the new system without purchasing upgrades. Again, firsthand experience here. My current system is Windows 8 64-bit. Itís more memory for a faster PC but a huge effort to get older programs to run, if at all.