Q: Microsoft recently released a new version of its Edge web browser. Are you working on a review for that release? I plan on following your advice on using this browser.
Also, a few months ago, you advised that a 7-year-old PC was probably due for replacement. Was that for laptops or economy desktops?
— Gary Burk, Olympia
A: Selecting a web browser is a lot like selecting the color of shirt you want to wear. Since all the browsers are free to download, the first thing I’d suggest is to try multiple browsers and see which one seems “right” for you.
Also, if you spend a lot of time browsing you’re probably going to want to install at least two browsers. I haven’t yet found a browser that “does it all.”
My current choice for my main browser is Opera. I like it because it’s the fastest browser I’ve seen with the cleanest interface. It also has built-in ad blocking. (Yes, you can install ad-blocking add-ons to the other browsers, but the more add-ons you install the more likely it is that you’ll run into performance issues.)
That said, I’ve also installed Mozilla Firefox. Some sites — including my bank’s site — won’t work properly with Opera. So I turn to Firefox when I want to connect to my bank.
Finally, whatever browser you feel most comfortable with you’ll want to see if it offers the privacy protections you want. The new version of Edge is actually pretty good in that respect.
As for the expected life span for your computers … it depends. It depends primarily on what you’re using the computer for and whether you’re running into a problems.
Like other tech devices, computers are always being improved — faster processors, faster and bigger storage, etc. If your older computer is developing problems, such as slow performance or crashes, you may be able to repair it but first you’ll want to consider whether putting that money into an older computer is worth it. Seven years is just my estimate of when putting money into repairs is likely to be unwise.
If you’re not having any problems with your computer, however, there’s only one reason to potentially consider spending money on a new computer. If your old computer is running an operating system that is no longer supported, such as Windows XP, and if the computer isn’t compatible with a currently supported operating system, it is vulnerable to malware.
Q: Each day I bookmark some webpages in my Mozilla Firefox web browser. Sometimes I am unable to move the bookmarks to a folder. From past experience, I know that some recent bookmarks will be lost when I shut down the browser and restart the computer. Why is this happening?
— Matt Daly, Lynnwood
A: Something is definitely amiss. The most likely culprits are a corrupt bookmarks file and a misbehaving browser add-on. And while I know it’s easy to point the finger at third parties, in my experience browser glitches are more often than not caused by those add-ons. It makes sense, after all. Code created by the browser company is understandably more likely to be compatible than code created by third parties.
Here’s a link from Mozilla support that gives you several things to check: st.news/bookmark-problems.
Q: I’m looking to purchase a new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 (14”) laptop with the new 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor. Some of my “geek” friends are saying that these new generation processors are having significant problems and to avoid. I try to read the literature, but it’s Greek to me. Should I wait? Any suggestions?
— George Kuritza, Park Ridge, Illinois
A: I haven’t been seeing any credible concerns about Intel’s i7 processor family. In fact, I just bought a computer with one. In short, I wouldn’t wait to buy a new computer because it has an Intel i7 processor.
That said, some processors are more appropriate for the kinds of applications you’re going to want to run. If you’re just going to be doing web browsing and emails, for example, rather than editing videos or gaming, you might save some dollars by buying a computer with an i5 processor.