Bought it at Walmart for $325 yesterday. I've been without a computer for quite a while now, but did have an Inspiron 17 loaned to me for a short time. I thought a 15.6 inch screen would be too small, but it seems ok. The weirdest thing is the touchpad has no buttons, but that isn't a problem. Double tapping in the lower right corner is a right button click and anywhere else is a left button click. The keyboard is usable. My diabetic fingers and eyeballs make using any keyboard difficult.
Getting Revo uninstaller was the first order of business to get rid of the crapware that comes with it. It comes with a terabyte drive. I do not like win 8, so Linux Mint is going on half of that. There's no win 8 reinstall disk (at least I haven't figured out how to make one. Haven't even tried to burn a DVD yet actually.) So after I've repartitioned for Linux I'll make a ghost of the windows half. Linux I don't have to worry about.
I've got a USB passport drive for the ghost images and will burn a data DVD as well.
My compiler has lifetime upgrades for both OS so I'm good to go there.
I had some trouble with getting a SQL database hosted (PostgrSQL and SQLite are natively supported by my compiler but hosts seem only to handle MySQL well) so I'm going to start developing with SQLite for now. ODBC is fine for managing DBs but I prefer to bypass it for the actual connections. I'll just create a server that allows the single user SQLite to serve multiple users. Much less management hassles since I build the data structure directly in software... no management outside that required. It's just a file.
It'll be a few days before I've got everything on my laptop configured the way I want it and backed up, but there's no hurry. I just hope I have no road blocks. After Revo did it's thing I got Chrome installed. The library here in town wouldn't install Chrome so now with my laptop I have a browser I can stand to use. The Linux version of Chrome has some minor differences from the windows version but nothing major. I wonder if I can get Linux to see my passport drive?
Update: The laptop DVD drive is M-Disc ready, which I googled. So if I can find the discs they will store my data for 1000 years... outlasting my laptop by 1000 years (rounding of course.)
Update: Ghost will not work. Win 8.1 will not make a recovery DVD. Win 7 could, but... Apparently I have to wait for windows to break before recovery (which sits on the drive that will eventually break but a separate partition.) Otherwise I need a 16gb USB drive and all the crapware will be reinstalled when that eventuality occurs. Not a problem for Microsoft since they're happy to sell you duplicate copies of their OS for your one computer. B.G. called this a ham sandwich once. Hate is not a strong enough emotion. The day when your computer is cheaper than your OS has arrived... or we could all migrate to Linux... low info voters have a lot in common with low info users. Neither are likely to be educated as we all get driven into the abyss.
I just hope the Linux install doesn't crash windows. Here goes nothing...
Update: Crash. Walmart sold out. Can't find same computer online. Variations I did find are all inferior specs. Can not describe how bad this is. "Bummer" doesn't quite cover it. A boot disk (not included) would have completely solved the issue, but not part of Microsoft agenda. I really can not say more.
Update: Just ordered another online: Walmart Product#553288298. This time the first thing I will do is buy a 16gb flash drive to make the emergency backup (which includes crapware reinstall) If I'd done that before I would have saved myself a lot of grief. Also noticed that Microsoft is no longer selling 8.1 retail (just preinstalled) because they are pushing win10 now.
Anyone know a specific linux laptop I could get w/ similar price and specs?