The less you spend on a computer, the more likely it'll break. Go for the higher-end Pro/business-grade model because the hardware will be better and won't get frustrating early down the road. The computer you want is close to $1500 to $2000...unless it's a Chromebook. We all need to reset our expectations for Windows and Mac products. Overall, it's gonna cost more than you wanna pay, but it'll be worth it in the long run. If money is especially tight, a Chromebook refurbished with some DIY upgrades could also work out.
If you are a Windows user, do not buy a personal computer/laptop with so little storage that it can't easily download the latest Microsoft updates because it can't fit them. Even if they're super cheap and tempting. It makes very little sense when Microsoft is pushing out such massive updates while PCs exist with such small hard drives. Windows 10, version 2004 has system requirements of 32GB or larger!
Microsoft has closed all 86 of their stores due to the ongoing pandemic, but what about your one-on-one support that you paid for? So frustrating, isn't it?! Their Assure Plan may include alternatives to in-person meetings, like online chats, but certain customers expected/needed inspections from an actual store expert. Try calling and pressuring Microsoft to refund your payment. They should make good on the situation.
Robert wants to buy a personal computer that is well built and runs Linux with a 17" screen. Leo says that most laptops top out at 15", but there are a few 17" models still available. Lenovo is one of the few manufacturers that ship laptops with Linux. Lenovo's P51 has a 15.6" screen. Lenovo's X1 Yoga has a great 15" model with an excellent keyboard.
Lois has an HP computer that is running very slowly. She's wondering if there's any program she could get to speed it up. Leo says there are cleaners, but none of them are any good and she should avoid them. The only and best way to fix a slow computer is to start over fresh. Lois should backup her data and then run the recovery disk, wipe the drive, and reinstall Windows. Most computers nowadays don't come with recovery disks, but computers 5 years ago likely did come with them.
Dina also wants to get her husband a new laptop, but he doesn't like Apple. What about the Microsoft Surface? Leo says that the Surface 3 is great. She doesn't need the pro version, which is $1300. But the Surface 3 is a small, light tablet that a keyboard can attach to. It also comes with Office. Dina should check out the Microsoft Store for more.
Steve has a Lenovo X1 that has intermittent boot up problems. Leo says that hard drives can fail or have "flakey spots" with corrupted areas. That makes them unreliable. He can use SpinRite to mark off the unreliable sectors and move the data to a better spot. Or he can just replace the hard drive.
David wants to get his wife a tablet that can work as a laptop. Leo likes the Lenovo Yoga. But the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has the best screen. It's not cheap, but people rave about it. Leo recommends to always go solid state. It'll be faster and lighter, but they're more expensive than a spinning drive.