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My computer just finally died, any suggestions for a new one?


auburnseeker
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This is somewhat car related and something I'm sure everyone on here will deal with or has dealt with.

I was using a HP Pavillion entertainment PC  Lap top.  It's got a 17 inch screen and worked very well for probably close to 4 or more years with only one breakdown that I had fixed.  

I liked the way it worked and it performed very well.  It's being used probably atleast 6 hours a day about 360 days a year.  That's a lot of time.  I lost the backspace key a couple years ago and the finish is worn off the mouse pad and some of the keys. The space bar even has a serious groove wore in it.  With an update I lost the sound over a year ago as well and it was running Windows Vista so I think it's just ready to be retired rather than resurrect the old carcass.  I think I got my money out of it and then some.

Now I realized tonight when it wouldn't turn on from a sleep that it's done.  (what a way to go,  peacefully in your sleep)

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good laptop that will hold a lot of pictures all be them low quality and have very good speed as well as ease of use and no real personality quirks? (I know I'm asking for a lot)  I'm using my wife's HP Pavillion G series and it seems to be quite inferior as well as occasionally at random changes screen size for no reason.  I don't care for it and am now in the market to buy a new machine but don't want to go to a website and read canned reviews.  I want to know what you guys are using and are happy with as well as what to avoid.  I'm not stuck on any make so I'll take all recommendations seriously.

I do ebay for a living so I need a good fast reliable machine.  I don't do gaming,  just ebay the forums here and serf a few classified ad sites.

Keep it simple I'm not up on all the computer jargon.

Thanks in advance for any and all help/ recommendations.  I'll be buying something in the very near future (probably tomorrow or Saturday so I can get back to work) . I'm expecting to spend 400-800.  It has to be a lap top as well with a good size screen.

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Just a thought but I have several Windows touchscream tablets ranging from 8" to 12" screens. At home I use with a docking station, key board, mouse, wired LAN, 24" monitor, external DVD, and a terabyte external drive. Remove from the dock and you have a portable. In the camper I connect to a 27" monitor via HDMI.

 

PM what you are looking for and I can send you a parts list (mostly available from Amazon).

 

ps I like Windows 10 but make it startup looking like Windows 7.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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The aspire didn't get as good of reviews on another site.  Still looking.  May end up with another HP pavilion.  Maybe my wife's just has issues because it is the cheap one. LOL

Definitely open to options though.  Keep them coming.  I checked availability and It's hard to determine on line what the stores have.  I checked Best Buy, Staples, Target, Sears and Even Walmart as they are all close enough to go look at from here. I really couldn't tell what any of them actually had in stock though.  Sears seemed to be the most expensive though.

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I dunno, still have my 1983 Columbia VP1600 and it works fine. Parts of my main computer may date to 1989 but the most common one I throw in the car is a 2011 Acer Aspire 1 netbook that has been hotrodded a bit (running Win 7-64) that has several GB of factory service manuals & parts books for most of my vehicles. Plugs into the dock here and the 27" 1080p monitor (also has a digital tuner and a Roku fire stick) in the camper, or just fine by itself. Was my GPS (streets & trips) before I bought my latest smart phone.

 

In 2012 I thought that tabs in cars was the next big thing. Only mistake was they are now Android/iOS and not Windows. Cars all have handsfree/BT plus much better sounds than satellite and more things like Heather Alexander and Jamie Brockett.

 

So if going to have just one, pick up something handy to carry and connect to peripherals (real monitor, etc.) at home. Best of both worlds.

 

ps 24"-27" 1080p monitors are in the $100-$175 range (on sale) for decent ones, digital tuner is $35, USB keyboard and mouse is in the noise.

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My laptop is an Acer aspire and the best review I can offer is that I know what it cost to buy the exact same parts in a different box. To get the same performance out of the Acer as the several hundred dollar more expensive machine you need to add about $50 worth of RAM and I use the SD slot for auto backup and RAM overflow. The Acer does not have an easy access panel for adding RAM.

Windows 10 verses Windows 7, upgrading from any system comes with a learning curve and there are a lot more people who can help you with W7 questions than there are with W10. I took the W10 upgrade the first day it was available and after I turned off most of the new bell and whistles, I found it to be a very reliable and functional system. I've got no complaints with W10 and I'm one of those people that downgraded from Vista to XP.

The only real problem I have with my Acer is that the touch pad is very sensitive and laying a couple business cards on top of the touch pad does not stop you from moving the screen when you inadvertently brush the pad while working at a desk.

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Microsoft Security Essentials - the only Microsoft product I feel good about except Windows 7. I've been running on my Dell for over 4 years without a glitch - it is truly seamless. I have also heard Kapersky is good.

 

I had major computer problems with both Norton and McAfee.

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When my laptop started acting up I started using desktop parts, first my keyboard quit working so I plugged in a desktop keyboard. When the monitor quit I plugged in an external monitor. Finally when the mouse quit I used an external mouse. All of this got me an extra year, but I already had the extra devices to plug in. I know this is not the option you want but it is something you can try to access your old laptop one last time if you need to retrieve files, or to look up your favourites list to make sure your not forgetting something when loading your new computer.

I'm currently using a tablet and would reccomend getting a cheap one for backup and to give the new laptop an occaisional break.

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I don't know where you are located but I have always had good luck buying from Fry's Electronics. If you are near one of their stores logon their site and watch the weekly newspaper ads.

 

The last two laptops I bought from Frys' were a Toshiba Satellite, 15.6 in screen, 4 GB ram, 500 GB HD, NO DVD, cost $238; other is a Fujitsu Lifebook, 15.6 in screen, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, DVD recorder/player, cost $248. I also buy Logitech K330 wireless keyboard and mouse package because I don't like the laptop keyboards. They are usually about $25 at Fry's.  You can get a 1 TB external USB HD from Fry's for about $60 to $70, all the storage you should need for years. The Toshiba came with Windows 8.1 and the Fujitsu, purchased 6 months earlier, came with Windows 7. I bought a brand new unopened Windows 7 Pro DVD on Amazon for $40. I upgraded the Fujitsu from 7 to Windows 10. Now W 10 does not support one of the printers I use heavily, and, just this week I tried to pay my city utility bill online and the payment service does not support W 10. I also have two 24 in monitors that I got on sale at Fry's for less than $100 each. Both these laptops have an HDMI port so you can plug them into your big screen TV and watch movies, sports, play games, etc.

 

Lots of Fry's sale merchandise can be purchased online. I live in Tulsa and the nearest fulfillment center is in Dallas and regular or free shipping never takes more than 2 days. My work takes me to Dallas and Houston so I have access to Fry's stores regularly. I first started shopping Fry's back in the 1990's when I lived in San Diego. There is a Microcenter store  in Houston that I have shopped a few times. They have comparable prices to Fry's.

The last laptop I had before I bought theses two was a Toshiba and I had it for 5 years before it gave up the ghost. I just can't bring myself to pay more than $250 for a computer and unless you are a "gamer" there is no need to spend a lot of money on a computer.

 

For protection from virus, etc. I use Avast which was recommended by a local computer repair shop. It costs $29 per year and can be used on up to 3 machines. It is fiddle free, just install and forget. It runs automatically in the background and only if there is a problem will you see a message. I have had it for 2 years and not once have I had problem with compatibility with applications I use, unlike McAfee and some others.

 

I have Microsoft Office 2013 applications which I purchased on DVD for about $120. Does not expire like MS Office 365 which you have to renew each year. Apache Open Office is very similar in user interface to MS Office and it can read and write MS file formats, and, best of all it is FREE on the internet. Just search "Apache Open Office".

Edited by Bob Call (see edit history)
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Let me just say, I went through all of this trying to find a laptop for my sister last week, albeit it was for gaming and in the under $500 range.

 

For brands, in the lower end(under $1000 really) Lenovo is the best all around.

 

Lenovo has alright service, alright performance/price and good quality.

 

Asus until high end is pretty bad for laptops. Monitors, GPUs, Motherboards, all good. But cheap laptops, not so much. Support is terrible also.

 

Acer, Acer Aspire's have terrible heat issues. Great specs for the price, but if put under enough stress they can get dangerously hot. Still not the absolute worst choice though as you won't be putting it through very much stress it seems.

 

HP is all around not that bad.

 

Dell, same as HP.

 

 

 

Have you looked at Chromebooks? They can't game, but are made for surfing the web.

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My son-in-law is the main computer tech for 4 big hospitals. When I was looking to replace my HP, I asked him for recommendations. His opinion is that  Dell has the most reliable  equipment and that is what they use for their most critical applications. I bought a Dell on his recommendation about 3 years ago and it has been great for me.

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I get my computers at either of the 2 local independent hole in the wall repair shops who buy and refurbish computers.  Well over 50% less than a new one and with only the software I actually need.  They both offer lifetime warranties,  As long as I own them - if they can't fix it they'll give me another one.

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Can I add a "caution" here? My wife and I are having heavy wi-fi usages. (50-60 gigs per month)

 

In an attempt to slow things down, we changed all of our passwords. The very next day, my main pc would not open open. I thought I had ritten down each password for each account, but I missed the easiest one, the one to open my unit. After printing everything imaginable, the wife told me to start writing the supposed password into a word document. I could not for the life of me write down a password without a space........That's when I realized that I had written down a "year", SPACE, then a "word"! DUH!

 

I never would have thought a SPACE could be used as a password. Just a word to the wise. 

 

Wayne

PS, thinking about an Apple next time, as I am about fed up with Windows!

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Not too computer savvy, but purchased my SONY 16.4" lap top from Micro Center almost 6 years ago.  I use ESET Antivirus/Antispyware and have had no issues - so far.  Hesitant to change from 7 to Win 10, but only because we have an older printer that driver doesn't seem to be available.  I like the idea of getting a separate large, high resolution screen.  Good luck.

 

http://www.microcenter.com/

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BTW if you buy a refurbished computer with a  properly activated Windows version 7 or higher, the upgrade to Windows 10 is currently free. XP or Vista is not.

 

There s nothing wrong with Windows 7 but the update process is probably going to be reduced to critical security updates only in the near future. Someone skilled can make Windows 10 look and work like Windows 7 except the START button is square and does more.

 

For Antivirus on newer stuff I use a combination od Windows Defender and Microsoft EMET both set to "paranoid".

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I used PCs for years and every time they came out with a new version of window some or most of everything looked different, and then you needed anti-virus software, etc, etc.

 

I switched to a 27 inch MAC several years ago and have never looked back.  Started out with the Snow Leopard operating system, a year later Apple provided a free upgraded to Yosemite, and this year a free upgrade to the El Capitan operating system.  Everything looks and operates exactly the same throughout all upgrades and my computer operates at the same speed today as the day I bought it.  No need for an anti-virus program, etc, etc.

 

My wife has a 15 inch Macbook and has had the same experience as me.   Also, when you call then for assistance on anything you talk to someone that actually speaks english, someone in the good old US of A.

 

We have Windows computers at work and every time the software is upgraded the computer runs slower and slower and they end up buying us new computers.

 

I guess you get what you pay for.

 

Like Wayne I keep all my passwords, but I keep them in a notebook next to my computer.  I figure if anyone ever hacks into my computer they won't get my passwords, since they are not kept in a computer file.

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The reason I quit using PC's nearly 10 years ago was that I kept having issues with Windows XP. It was very flakey. One day it would run great and the next it would slow down. It also seemed to update without warning despite changing the settings to prompt before an update could be downloaded. After each "update" it would run slower and I'd find new processes running in the task manager and others running again after I had disabled them. Windows is a huge hardware hog. The other issue was viruses. No matter what anti-virus program was running, something would still get through.

I've been happily running Macbook Pro's for nearly 10 years and have only had one go totally bad, mainly because it was old and used to death and another that was fixed free by Apple even after the warranty had run out a few years.

My daughter has been using an HP Pavilion with Win 7 for about the last 3 or 4 years and she has had good luck with it. It seems to have been bug free but the surprise updates that happen even on her machine drive her nuts too.

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First off let me thank everyone for the time they took to help or atleast try to steer me in the right direction.

I ended up at Staples today and bought another new version of the HP pavilion.  Pretty much the same thing I have now that I physically wore out. 

Good or bad I went with their antivirus for 2 years to the tune of an extra 159.99 total.  The Pavillion was on sale for I think 499.99.  I also bought the extended full bumper to  bumper warranty.

My 2 trains of thought on these (I rarely buy into the extended warranty and what not)  Everything is covered for 2 years even batteries. If they can't fix it quickly they give me a new one.  I use my machine a lot and if I'm down a day it can cost me far more than the machine in lost business.   

The antivirus they offer comes with a drop it off if you get a virus and it's fixed for free by the next day. It is also suppose to only run when you are on the web via a separate server I believe so it doesn't take a bunch of room on the hard drive.   Regardless of how many times you do it,  it's covered.

BY the time I was out the door with all the extras it was about 850.00

It does have windows 10 so I'll cross my fingers. 

It was actually the only 17 inch screen they even had. So I didn't have a lot of choices unfortunately.

Lets hope it was a wise move.  For 850.00 I got a fully covered protected machine that the guy said will outperform my old lap top in every way for the next 2 years.  It's also suppose to be pretty much ready to go when I bring it home.  I do like the idea of being able to just drop it off if I have a problem that's not easily fixed as opposed to hours of tech support from a foreign shore.

I'll update this thread at a later date with how I made out incase anyone else digs it up for future reference. 

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First off let me thank everyone for the time they took to help or atleast try to steer me in the right direction.

I ended up at Staples today and bought another new version of the HP pavilion.  Pretty much the same thing I have now that I physically wore out. 

Good or bad I went with their antivirus for 2 years to the tune of an extra 159.99 total.  The Pavillion was on sale for I think 499.99.  I also bought the extended full bumper to  bumper warranty.

My 2 trains of thought on these (I rarely buy into the extended warranty and what not)  Everything is covered for 2 years even batteries. If they can't fix it quickly they give me a new one.  I use my machine a lot and if I'm down a day it can cost me far more than the machine in lost business.   

The antivirus they offer comes with a drop it off if you get a virus and it's fixed for free by the next day. It is also suppose to only run when you are on the web via a separate server I believe so it doesn't take a bunch of room on the hard drive.   Regardless of how many times you do it,  it's covered.

BY the time I was out the door with all the extras it was about 850.00

It does have windows 10 so I'll cross my fingers. 

It was actually the only 17 inch screen they even had. So I didn't have a lot of choices unfortunately.

Lets hope it was a wise move.  For 850.00 I got a fully covered protected machine that the guy said will outperform my old lap top in every way for the next 2 years.  It's also suppose to be pretty much ready to go when I bring it home.  I do like the idea of being able to just drop it off if I have a problem that's not easily fixed as opposed to hours of tech support from a foreign shore.

I'll update this thread at a later date with how I made out incase anyone else digs it up for future reference. 

 

Warranty is a good idea, antivirus probably wasn't that bad, I just can't ever get myself to pay for antivirus. Avast! free and Malwarebytes work perfectly.

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FWIW: One of the most things that is overlooked is the 32-Bit vs. 64-Bit operating system in your computer. All of my programs>eg:

Calendar/Name&Address & etc. are with the 32-Bit system. It is hard to find a new computer that has the 32-Bit system; they have all

gone to 64-Bits. Bottom line> ALL YOUR 32 BIT SYSTEM PROGRAMS WILL NOT WORK WITH THE 64-BIT NEW COMPUTERS!!

So Beware.  Larry

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I only went with their anti virus so I didn't have to try and find the right free one on line.  My luck I would load the wrong one and screw the computer up.  He said it's 150.00 just to have a computer looked at.  If I picked the wrong one and had a problem I would then pay them the cost of their 2 years of anti virus just for the initial look see to fix it.   It made sense when I weighed the options. 

Wish me luck.  I go online with it later today.

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If you still have the old one fire it up and download a free CPU thermometer. I have had the heat transfer jell deteriorate over time. Radio Shack sells it in tubes for a couple of bucks. Just pop the heat sink off the motherboard, clean it and put new stuff on. Then you will have two computers and the new one will sit idle as you use the one you are familiar with.

 

My machines run 8 to 10 years. I put together a spec in 1998 that is still my basis of design and even though things that were options then are standard now.

 

When my daughter went to college I gave the computer shop a spec for her machine. When I went to pick it up the service manager took me in the back and showed me two identical machines, One was mine. The other was for HIS daughter who was starting college at the same time. He liked it.

 

Just checked; all four cores are running at 90 degrees or less. Used to be 135!

 

Bernie

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From my lengthy post above you might think I worship at the Temple of the Gates. No, I do believe that Apple OS is much better, however, I work as an independent contractor in the evil hydrocarbon exploration and production industry. My work requires that my hardware and software interface with the information management systems of some of the largest corporation in the world and their systems do not work with the Apple OS and very few software developers even attempt to write applications for this business that interface with Apple.

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Said it before, Apple makes great systems for people who do not like computers. OTOH for development or diagnostics, Windows and DOS boxes are powerful tools.

BTW I run a lot of 32 bit programs on my 64 bit computers (runing 7-64 and 10-64) including at least one graphics program from the last millenia designed for Windows 95 & 98. Occsionally I'll run into a recent one that says "use the 64 bit version" but most run just fine.

Worst case you can emulate an earlier version as a virtual machine.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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Said it before, Apple makes great systems for people who do not like computers. OTOH for development or diagnostics, Windows and DOS boxes are powerful tools.

I decided to stay out of this conversation as I figured there would be a Windows/Macintosh back and forth. But now that the OP has successfully acquired a computer that suits his needs I'll chime in.

 

I spent 40 years in embedded software development and for a good chunk of that time, mostly the '90s and 00's, you pretty much needed a DOS/Windows machine to compile and burn your ROMs. But the embedded world switched to Linux a while back and with OS10 Apple switched to running a Unix flavor under the covers. Between those two events, I found that a Mac made a much better development platform for me than Windows. And in a business environment where the IT departments seem to be Windows centric, a Mac is a better fit than a Linux box as you can get official versions of the MS Office suite whereas on Linux you are, or at least were when I was doing it, going to be using a OpenOffice derivative which could have issues with complicated MS Office documents.

 

Now that I'm retired and only doing software for play, a Mac still suits my needs for writing my own Android apps pretty well. And when I see people having issues with the development platform for Android it seems that they are usually trying to use Windows rather than a Linux or Macintosh based machine. I haven't looked into iOS app development but I'd be really surprised if Apple made it easy to do that on anything other than a Mac. Between Android and iOS, there are a heck of a lot of phones/tablets (actually computers) being shipped and companies being built around apps for those products where a Mac makes a very good development platform.

 

If you are in a environment where you are doing business programs I guess that you can say “OTOH for development or diagnostics, Windows and DOS boxes are powerful tools.” But I think you are stretching the point if you try to apply that to all software development.

 

OTOH if all you need a computer for is surfing the web and checking email, pretty much any operating system on pretty much any low end computer will do very nicely and you might as well get one which has an user interface you are personally comfortable with.

Edited by ply33 (see edit history)
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It was my first night with the new machine.  It almost took an airplane ride out the window.  It has some highly questionable features as well.  The screen changing size is a "feature"  caused by a certain sweeping motion on the mouse.  How do you turn it off? I have a few words for it.

When I went to load my photos into it,  it kept loading them over and over rapidly and asking me to agree to load them.  Before I could it would load them again.

I think both ebay and Yahoo were having issues last night as well so I'm not sure how much of that is computer or ebay/ web related.  I lost more than one listing and had to redo them.  Anyone who does ebay will tell you how much fun that is. 

I also can only go back one page at a time.  Before I used to beable to right click for an option of pages to go back.  Very helpful when you are using an older page to list from.

I also don't see an Icon for the page loading so you don't know if the page is loaded or in processing mode.  Kind of handy when you are trying to scroll down a page to know that it's not ready rather than keep clicking the bar trying to get it to highlight to drag it down.

Definitely some problems that will hopefully be easy to rectify or the people that sold it to me will be really unhappy to see me every time I go to the store.

I just had a problem with it rewriting over what I already typed when I wrote this reply.  I couldn't get it to insert as I could on my old machine.  No matter what I did it kept writing over what I already typed.  You used to just hit insert and it would stop.  No luck this time. 

This is why I kept using my old broken down machine with no sound and missing keys with no battery so it had to be wired to use it.

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Deliberately didn't mention Linux/Unix since is either for people kept in cages and fed Jolt cola or the very intense. One reason I use removable drives to have one for each operating system and variants. Do have a MacBook with El Capitan and hot-rodded a bit but mostly use Intel and AMD 64 bit boxes (one I'm loading now is on 132 of 162 Updates). My Android toolset is on a Linux box.

Do think you bought a good machine for your use and for most people, both Windows and OS/X will do what you need, really just a question of what you like.

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I'm learning with it.  Figured out how to shut the auto zoom off.  That's a top topic on the help site.  You think they would make it an item you have to turn on to use. Not turn off because it Po's the new purchaser.  You have to go in and turn it off every time the computer restarts.  (who designs this stuff?)  Good thing I normally just sleep it.

The picture download went fine last night.  Still not sure why but when I rotate pictures and it shows them as being rotated, they get loaded on ebay the way they were,  not the way they were corrected to.  Even though if I go into my pictures right now they will show as being oriented the way I changed them to.

I still can't figure out how to pull down the drop box below the back button to go back multiple pages.  If anyone knows how to do that I would be very grateful. 

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On 1/17/2016 at 10:19 AM, auburnseeker said:

1. The screen changing size is a "feature"  caused by a certain sweeping motion on the mouse.  How do you turn it off?

2. I also can only go back one page at a time.  Before I used to beable to right click for an option of pages to go back. 

 

3. I also don't see an Icon for the page loading so you don't know if the page is loaded or in processing mode.

 

Hi auburnseeker,

 

If you are using Win 10 and IE11 try these suggestions for your questions above:

 

1.  The display changing sizes is related to the Touch Pad gestures on your HP Pavilion.  You can turn off all of the Touch Pad gestures if desired.  Here is a link to how to do this for HP laptops using Win 10 --> http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c04648748#AbT8

 

2.  If you are using IE11 you can go back to your previous pages by "right clicking" on the large arrow in the upper left hand corner of the IE11 screen (see screen snapshot)

 

 

3. Page loading status in IE11 has moved from the web page itself to the "tab" of the web page.  If the web page is not fully loaded you will see a spinning circle at the beginning of the tab for that page (see screen snapshot)

 

 

Bob

 

 

Edited by vwlfan (see edit history)
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I just turned off all of the touch features as you suggested. 

Unfortunately I don't have the blue arrow to go back (that was on my old pavilion).  All I have is a silhouted black arrow that when I right click on it says back with no options. 

I was going to join the HP forum to try to fine tune it similar to my old machine, but they wouldn't recognize my Email. They probably want me to set up a HP email account. So much for the user friendly part.

Thanks for the help Bob.  It's appreciated.

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