Mike Binns
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Ask your computer questions on my new site: Helpdeskr.net
Purchasing a Desktop

Click here if you did not come from the "Purchasing a Computer" page of this site.

From the Home & Home Office section of the Dell Site, click on "Desktops". Now look for the green link that states "Start Shopping Desktops" under "Customize your Perfect Desktop".

You should see a horizontal comparison of a number of Dell series. Scroll all the way to the right and, under the cheapest series, click the green "Choose <series name>".

You should again see a horizontal comparison, this time of a number of specific Dell systems. Scroll all the way to the right and, under the cheapest system, click the green "Customize It".

Choose the following for the options:

ItemOption to Pick
Processor Pick the cheapest processor option.
Operating System Windows XP Home (pro is costly and unnecessary unless connecting to a corporate network).
Memory (Ram) Pick the largest option here. Since it is the cheapest system, you probably wont even be given the option to add the amount of ram you need. You will have to order RAM separately. Once you get your new computer, use the Memory Upgrade page on this site to purchase the ram.
Hard Drive Hard drive space is cheap now, but you usually don't need too much of it. If the price is good, you can upgrade the drive space.
CD/DVDPick the options you need.
Floppy Drive If you really need a floppy drive, you can pay the extra for one, but have not had one for 4 years in my custom built computers. DONT buy the USB drive here, you can get them much cheaper online or at any computer store.
MonitorIf you already have a monitor, selecting no monitor will save you some money, not only in purchase price but also in shipping weight/costs. You may be able to get a better deal at a local computer store on a monitor if you need one.
SpeakersPurchasing the cheap speakers here is usually a good deal, but again you may be able to get a better deal at a local computer store.
Keyboard/MouseIf its not too much more money, go for the optical mouse, its much better than the old style ball mouse. Again a better deal may be available at a local store.
Office SoftwareIf you are going to be using Microsoft Word, you should get the works suite which includes it. If you need excel and outlook, you may want the Microsoft Office Basic.
Operating System Backup & RecoveryIMPORTANT! If you have the option, you should purchase the "Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition backup CD". This will allow you to format/reinstall everything easily as described on this site.

Click "Update Price & Ship Date" to see an updated price, and then click "continue".

Choose the following for the options:

Warranty As I described in the "Purchasing a Computer" section, the warranty is where Dell's excel. If you don't have good warranty with a Dell, you are shooting yourself in the foot. I suggest a bare minimum of 2 years, get the 3 or 4 years if you can afford it and it makes sense compared to the total price of the system. This is critical because if anything happens to your computer, Dell will fix it on their dime and if they cant, they will ship you a new computer (even a newer model if yours is no longer made).
AntivirusDO NOT purchase an Antivirus. Use the free one (Avast) described on this site.
Wireless RoutersIf you need a wireless router, you can usually get a much better deal at a local store.
PrinterIf you need a printer, you can select one that meets your needs, or shop around at a local store for deals.
Surge ProtectorsIf you really need a surge protector, you can usually get one much cheaper at a local store.





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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Although these instructions have been tested on thousands of computers without incident, and chances of any damage or loss of important data resulting from following these instructions are virtually zero, there always exists a very small chance that something could go wrong. I add the following warning not because I ever believe that anything will happen but because today's lawsuit happy world requires it:

Although I will attempt to assist you (via the contact me form) with issues that arise from following these instructions, you are using this website at your own risk, and I am not legally responsible for any damage or loss of data that may occur related to the use of this website.


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