The Only Monthly Mac Blog That Matters…

The Writing on the Wall…

A question I’m often asked: “Should I get a new computer?”

Usually when I hear that, I know the user has read the writing on the wall and knows it’s time. But my response usually is “What makes you think you need a new one?” If I hear some specifics, it makes it easier for me to make a determination on the matter at hand. There are plenty of valid reason to want a new computer running out of storage is a big one. Modern Macs don’t give the end user (that’s you and me) the option to bump up the internal storage (a.k.a. hard drive) or RAM, for that matter. That’s another thing that was good about the old days, you could customize things once you got them home. But no more.

Another reason: You can’t access your bank unless you update Google Chrome. And then you find you can’t update Google Chrome because you need to upgrade your operating system (OS). And then you discover you’re at the end of line, because you can’t upgrade your OS because your hardware is too old. A real house of cards conundrum. Or maybe simply isn’t zippy enough with the kind of work you do on it, or it doesn’t have the bells or whistles you want. Or perhaps you have a desktop model, and you want a laptop (or vice versa). Or a larger display. 

OK, so you’ve decided that a new computer will solve your issues. A few things to consider when deciding on a new computer:

Software compatibility: The version of software you’re using may not work on a newer OS. Things like QuickBooks, FileMaker Pro, pre-Office 365 Microsoft, and others may require an upgrade if you buy a new computer. And trust me, these aren’t usually free upgrades.

Storage: As mentioned earlier, you get what you pay for when it comes to internal storage, so plan accordingly. My rule for internal storage is the same for renting a dumpster – decide what size you need, and then get the next largest one. You won’t be sorry.

Adapters: Newer Macs have USB-C ports, which require a USB to USB-C adapter if you plan on using any of your USB peripherals. (Don’t worry, these adapters are inexpensive, particularly if you avoid the Apple-branded models and go third party.)

Setup cost: If you have a Time Machine backup of your old Mac, best bet (in most circumstances) is to avoid a straight “restore” and go with a “clean install,” which is reinstalling your applications and bring your data from the backup manually. Sounds more complex than it really is, but it’s the best way. Of course, this is more time and money, but doing that way is the correct way to do it.

To recap, here are some of the major reasons to consider ditching your current Mac:

  • Overall slowness.
  • Inability to connect to certain websites.
  • Incompatible with the latest versions of software.
  • Not enough internal storage.

Whatever the reason, I offer this piece of advice: It’s like deciding to buy a new car – when it’s time, you know it’s time.


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