Portable computer recommendations

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by wbbnm, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I have been carrying an Asus 10" notebook computer on trips for several years. It still works but has become almost unusably slow. The problem seems to be limited memory. I guess updated versions of operating system software are just using up nearly all the available memory.

    I can sort of run Mapsource and Explorer, but not at the same time.

    I am looking for suggestions on what to replace it with. My main uses are trip rerouting using Mapsource and Basecamp, internet access, email, etc. I also need it for Word and Excel.

    I don't have a smartphone and really want to avoid getting one.
    #1
  2. BKMLWR

    BKMLWR Wondering around...

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    I have what is probably a very similar Asus 10" EEE which the hard drive failed on in December....I looked around and saw nothing that impressed me for the money so I put a 240gb SSD drive in and had Win7 installed again by guy I work with and it runs much better and faster with the SSD drive so I'm staying with the old machine and saved some money....before basecamp would crash the graphics but it has not been a problem yet with the new setup....Google earth even does good once it gets up an going...
    I called Asus and tried to get a copy of Win7 like they installed on the machine but that didn't work.......you can get an "OEM" copy of win7 for about $50....
    The new SSD drive was about $80 from NewEgg
    Google the model of the notebook and you can find all the drivers needed.

    If the speed of your notebook was acceptable at some point in the past then the memory may not be the issue and may just need to have win7 reinstalled. I have the new editions of basecamp and google earth and I think mapsource is v6.16.3
    #2
  3. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    get the neighborhood nerdy kid to reinstall your operating system. windows gets crappier over time.

    if you ever get a smartphone I'll show you how to keep all your tracks on it, and build new ones faster than ever.
    #3
  4. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    The SSD drive sounds like a good idea. I will look into it.

    I don't use the machine much and my memory is foggy about how good it used to run. I also cannot leave it turned on. And when I reboot I have to wait nearly half an hour before I can really use it. I think some of that is the security software doing a scan.

    I did some checking and didn't find much to replace it either. There are lots of machines out there with only 32 GB of disc storage. There can't be much of anything left over for the user.

    I will also look into the Windows 7 reinstall. But it seems like if I reinstall the original, it will soon detect that I am 5 years or so behind on "critical security" updates and then want to install the updates. And I would be right back where I am now, or nearly so.
    #4
  5. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    as too the security updates where it want to install them.

    Say NO

    carry on
    #5
  6. terryckdbf

    terryckdbf Pickles

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    No idea what your computing needs are, I was carrying an older laptop also that was giving up the ghost as well. Shopped around, criteria for me was some form of solid state drive, rugged, tough, water resistant keyboard, and since it was mainly for the bike, inexpensive. Lenovo built a rugged student version for schools, the N22 model, 11.6", no touchscreen, not the most powerful, not the most memory, found one at Walmart for $159. you will need 32 +/- gig for the operating system so keep that in mind, mine has 64gb, the more the better of course. Mine has Windows 10 Pro, runs a full suite of Office Online which I had a subscription for, did not come with it. Runs Basecamp, Google Earth, Bluebeam, Outlook, Movie Maker, Skype and a ton of stuff. Battery life over 9 hours. Again, not needing a ton of memory for video, pics, etc. and lightning speed, it fills my need on the road for almost a disposable price. I have a portable drive with 500 gig of memory if I need it. If you choose to go that route shop around. Not endorsing Lenovo over any others, it fit my needs for a bike laptop, we shall see if it holds up, so far so good.

    http://www.lenovopartnernetwork.com/n-series

    Good luck.

    Terry
    #6
  7. EnduroRdr

    EnduroRdr Woods Racer & D/S Rider

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    I also have an old asus 10 (hell maybe an 8 it's tiny) anyway I still run win-xp on it. Runs mapsource just fine. It is solely used for gps mapping. But I have avoided connecting it to internet no email on it, no porn, no nuttin (got a phone for email and surfing) maybe that's why it is still fast enough to handle my gps needs. It fits in my backpack or luggage so I usually bring it on day long exploration rides. It's faster to just stop and use it to plan routes or changes on it then upload to 60CSX than using gps itself.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #7
  8. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    Windows is your problem....

    it gets old fast, and because they made REALLY SHITTY SOFTWARE for so many years, people believe they need anti virus/scanners in order to do anything.... and that layer of shit on top of the layers of shit from Microsoft, means things get even slower.

    none of this is your fault, but it really would pay off big time for you to get the local tech nerd to install the best possible os your laptop can handle.

    the laptop is FINE, when ought doesn't have shit for an operating system. :-)

    ps... we have Macintosh laptops/desktops/hackintoshes, and they haven't slowed at all in a decade. ms really is junk for operating systems.
    #8
  9. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Thanks for all these suggestions.

    I have never noticed that I could decline the updates. But I will look for that option.

    I saw the Lenova and it looks attractive. But it is a few inches larger than the ASUS I have. A larger computer would have significant impact to my packing strategy.

    My wife uses MacBook Air. Her last one behaved just like the ASUS (and my last XP desktop). It just kept getting slower and slower so she bought a new one. There was probably something we could have done about it, but I don't know how and had no interest. And she certainly doesn't know how.
    #9
  10. lkraus

    lkraus Adventurer

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    I travel with a refurbished ASUS T100, 2gb ram, 64gb internal storage + 500gb hard drive in the detachable keyboard. 10" touch screen, came with Windows 8, upgraded to Win10 (32bit). Power-on to fully booted and logged in, ready to use, takes 45 seconds. WIFI, Bluetooth, micro HDMI, micro USB and standard USB3 ports. I don't care for tablets, so I never take the keyboard off. The hard drive option really is not necessary, but the version with 32gb internal storage would be too restrictive for me. With the recovery partition, the 64 gb version only has a usable 49gb. I do use the hard drive for photo backups, my music collection and a copy of my bike shop manual. Battery is good for about eight hours use. This model is a few years old, and I do not think Asus has a current version, but new and refurbished units are still available.
    #10
  11. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Running "Disk Cleanup" including "system Files" (if that option is available) helps speed things up after years (or less) of windoze updates.
    In Windows Explorer right-click "drive C" select "properties" then "disk cleanup". It can take awhile to do the "system files" part.
    #11
  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I like the sound of this. I found one for $140 and will probably buy it. But I am going to try the disc cleanup first. What, if any, virus protection software are you running?

    Thanks again for all the suggestions.
    #12
  13. BKMLWR

    BKMLWR Wondering around...

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    #13
  14. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I did the Disc Cleanup including system files and it seems to have helped quite a bit. But I had a real scare. I wanted to test reboot speed and when I shut it down, it entered an update cycle. It finished in a reasonable time during the shutdown, but upon restart it seemed hung finishing the update. After about 15 min I panicked and did a hard shut down. When I rebooted, it went back into the update and seemed hung again. I let it sit for a few hours and when I came back it was up and running.

    BTW I saw no way that I could decline the updates. Maybe this is a global system setting somewhere.

    I tried a few things and, while not blazing fast, it seems more acceptable now. So I will probably live with it for a while longer.

    But I also might get the newer T100. I thought I had 64Gb on mine, but discovered I had 256 Gb. So I would definitely need more disc space. So thinks for that tip.
    #14
  15. lkraus

    lkraus Adventurer

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    Currently, I'm just using windows Defender for antivirus. It's not much, but I stay away from sketchy sites while travelling and rarely download any sort of unknown executable files on the T100. I have disc images which allow complete restoral to a prior point if something sneaks through - no problems yet.

    I forgot to mention, the T100 has a slot for a microSD card of up to 64GB for additional storage. Reportedly a 128GB card works, but was not "supported" because that size did not exist at the time the T100 was designed. I don't use it on a regular basis because the card sticks out a bit and I was afraid of breakage; I probably could have rigged up a guard if I really needed the space.
    #15
  16. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Run disk cleanup again after Windows updates.
    wbbnm, you're running Win 7? I'll dust off my Win7 Netbook and refresh my memory on how to stop Windows Updates from just doing what IT wants.
    #16
  17. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I am running Windows 7 Starter. I have the feeling that something I did during the disk cleanup initiated the updates. I base this on how long it took to do the updates, much longer than a normal update. I selected a lot of types of files to be deleted, in particular service pack files and update programs.

    The computer is running very well now. It didn't lock up overnight like it usually does.
    #17
  18. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    I used an antique HP laptop for a LONG time. I used Windows Defender, and the laptop really did not 'slow down' with age. Many of the virus protection programs ARE a virus. They tie into the OS and clog up the works. I eventually replaced that laptop last year, mainly because I wanted a touch screen laptop. But I still use the old antique occasionally, which I did upgrade to Windows 10, and a SSD. Over the years my work laptops have gotten slow, and needed replacing. Slow as it over 15 minutes to boot up and become operational. It is always related to the virus protection that they force on me at work. My home laptops with SSD boot up quickly, under a minute for the new one I suspect.

    If your Asus laptop is otherwise good, installing a SSD and reinstalling the OS without some horrible virus software, will probably get you going fine again.
    #18
  19. Claire Z.

    Claire Z. Adventurer

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    Sounds like the hardware you have meets your limited requirements. Maybe just needs a tune up. :D

    My thoughts (taking bits and pieces from this thread and adding my spin):

    1. Backup all your data files on a cheap USB stick/drive (Amazon)
    2. Replace existing mechanical drive with SSD (Amazon)
    3. Install the max amount of memory (Amazon, crucial.com to check for max amount)
    4. Do a "clean install" of Win7 (I'm assuming you have the original distribution media CD/DVD). I would recommend any other of the 6 editions of Win7 (Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate), but if all you have is Starter then use what you have. Make sure you do a "clean install" which will remove all the "crud" from past usage. This step is critical for the removal of data corruption which is one large factor in performance degradation. For example:
    (https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-clean-install-windows-7-2624917)
    5. After clean install, install SP1 (Win7) to start
    6. Install all the historical security updates all at once using a "Roll Up" package from Microsoft (https://www.howtogeek.com/255435/ho...l-at-once-with-microsofts-convenience-rollup/). Allowing the system to auto update with incremental updates will take forever. This single package contains all the updates.
    7. Install any required application software (Excel, Word, Basecamp, Mapsource, etc.)
    8. Install anti virus (recommend Avast Free, consumes small amounts of system resources)
    9. Turn off auto updates in the operating system.
    10. Recommend not updating the application software with future updates
    11. Reinstall backup files

    At this point your system (software/hardware) will be performing at it's highest level. With updates turned off, your system is "frozen" in time. But this will ensure future updates do not degrade system performance. Win7 had reached end of support life cycle, but will still receive security updates (see table). Note: While this approach will extend the useful life of older hardware, this approach is not recommended for newer hardware and more robust user environments.

    upload_2017-2-19_10-14-34.png

    Obviously, these thoughts are high level "what to do". The "how to do" part may require assistance. In this area, Google search is your friend. Many step-by-step articles are available, just "Google" it. The ones I provided are just examples.

    If I can be of further assistance with the details, please PM me and I will help.
    #19
  20. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Claire,
    Thanks for all this info. I checked into how to do a clean Windows 7 install. Looks like I can do it from the recovery partition on my hard drive. But I will have back everything up first. Need to get a big enough thumb drive.

    Right now my computer is usable and I need it for a technical meeting in March and a big ride in May. So for now I am not going to do anything to jeopardize it until after that ride.
    #20